Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present contemporary folk singer/songwriter and comedienne extraordinaire Cheryl Wheeler, plus Americana duo Willa Mamet and Paul Miller, at Next Stage on Saturday, September 9 at 7:30 pm.
It has always seemed as if there were two Cheryl Wheelers, with fans of the New England songwriter relishing watching the two tussle for control of the microphone. There is poet-Cheryl, writer of some of the prettiest, most alluring and intelligent ballads on the modern folk scene. And there is her evil twin, comic-Cheryl, a militant trend defier and savagely funny social critic. As the poet and comic forces join, taking their separate turns and melding into the same artistic vision, Wheeler emerges as a delightful, gifted and openhearted performer.
Poet-Cheryl writes achingly honest songs of love and loss. Contrasting the prosaic landscapes of her native small-town America with the hopelessly rootless life of the traveling performer, she touches the common chords with any who feel the tug between our busy, noisome times and the timeless longing for simplicity and silence. Her deceptively plain-spun songs have been hits for such mainstream stars as Suzy Bogguss and Dan Seals, and have been recorded by the likes of Bette Midler, Maura O’Connell, Peter Paul and Mary, Kenny Loggins, Holly Near and Garth Brooks. Comic-Cheryl comes on like Groucho-in-a-housecoat; a fiercely everyday woman with a barbed-wire tongue. Shredding the mores of our gossipy, greedy, trend-obsessed culture, Wheeler always aims enough darts at herself to never seem sanctimonious.
Vermont and California-based Willa Mamet and Paul Miller play a mix of Americana, folk, country and grassy soul music. Over the past 40 years, Paul has performed with with Coco and the Lonesome Road Band, Bluebird, Andy Shapiro, Breakaway and the Bluegrass Gospel Project. Willa grew up making music with her family and community around Randolph, VT, and has been singing with Paul for nearly fifteen years. Together they have won the Vermont Times Argus “Tammy” Award for Best New Album in both 2013 and 2015.
Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill in downtown Putney, VT. Tickets are $22 Advance / $25 At the Door. For information, call 802-387-0102. Advance tickets are available at www.nextstagearts.org, Turn It Up in Brattleboro and Putney Food Co-Op in Putney. For more information, visit www.cherylwheeler.com, www.kitchen-table-music.com, www.twilightmusic.org and www.nextstagearts.org.